Whether you work on the supplier or distributor side of the promotional products industry, a big part of your job involves convincing others to choose you. You might be applying for a job, sending a proposal or meeting with a prospective buyer. Whatever the circumstances, you need to be able to assert your value and position yourself as the best option.

However, it’s not always easy pitching your ideas. What should you say? How can you help back up your points? How do you keep the other person’s attention? According to Vibhu Sinha, a senior management professional, there are four essential steps to effectively pitch your ideas in any given situation.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we highlight Sinha’s tips for successfully conveying your message, no matter the circumstances.

Step No. 1: Tell a story the way only you can. This means to be authentic. When pitching your ideas, don’t worry about memorizing a script, reciting data or trying to impress others with your business acumen. Also, don’t worry about using extravagant words and flowery phrases in your pitch. These approaches ultimately won’t move stakeholders, says Sinha. To get people to be receptive to your message, focus on authenticity, passion and relevance, he says. In other words, be yourself. Let your enthusiasm shine through.

Step No. 2: Simplify your message. Whether you are pitching to a prospective buyer or a potential employer, you should always strive to keep your message simple. Too many people make their pitches complex by weaving in several ideas, says Sinha. This make it difficult for the other person to follow what you are saying. For a real-world example of simple messaging, look to Southwest Airlines. When asked what makes the business unique, co-founder Herb Kelleher simply said, “We are the low-fare airline.” Southwest also has other desirable attributes, but Kelleher simplified it on one core message: low fares.

Step No. 3: Start small. The next step to effectively pitching your idea is to begin small. Rather than trying to talk to a prospective buyer about multiple campaigns, begin with one. Show how this one program or initiative could make a difference. For example, Sinhu points out research surrounding two compelling campaigns around ending hunger. Research shows that people are more willing to give larger donations when they can see the plight of one young girl rather than an entire nation of starving people. Focus on making a small difference before trying to change an entire company or market.

Step No. 4: Establish credibility. According to Sinhu, you need at least one of the following four pieces of evidence to build credibility: professional acumen, academic background, testimonies or traction in terms of adoption of your idea. However, if you don’t have any of these, you can still move forward with your pitch—you just need to get creative.

Knowing how to pitch well is a key skill in sales. Set yourself up for success by following the steps above. Remember to use your own voice and be authentic when talking about your idea or proposal. It’s also important to avoid overly complicating your message. Keep it simple and start small with your solution. And finally, look for ways to prove your credibility, whether it’s showcasing client testimonials or highlighting employer feedback.

Source: Vibhu Sinha is a senior management professional with experience in banking and capital markets. He earned a master’s from Harvard and an MBA from UCLA. Sinha is the recipient of the Presidential Award from The White House.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers